Until recently the books, that H was getting sent home from school to read, were uninspiring and way below the level he was reading at home. Also, H loves to read new books (he will revisit old favourites and ones that fire his imagination too, but he enjoys variety). Up until November I was providing him with extra reading material from the library. This was doing the job for free, but required quite a lot of effort on my part. The learning to read books in our library are only ordered in a very rudimentary way. I did request books from other libraries within the city, but this was time-consuming (even doing it online) and it was difficult to keep pace with H’s appetite for new books. Then our library reservation system closed down for a month or two to help facilitate switch to a new computer system and we were a bit stuck. Luckily Reading Chest came to our rescue with a trial membership.
Reading Chest works very much like a DVD postal rental service. It works like this:
- You set up an account. There is help to find the right level of reading book for you (if you need more assistance then my School Reading Schemes post may help). If you have more than one child then you can allow for this if you go for the silver or gold packages. You can also choose which reading schemes you want books from – this allows you to exclude your child’s school reading scheme say if you don’t want to repeat books. There are other options too: you could choose just non-fiction or just fiction.
- Select the package you want: bronze, silver or gold. This will depend on how many children you want to use the scheme and how many books you want to receive.
- Your pack will arrive in the post with an initial delivery of books, a handy bag to store them, some prepaid return envelopes and some motivational materials (certificate, stickers and a bookmark in ours).
- You can return up to 3 books in an envelope and this is one ‘swap’. You pay for a package that provides the number of swaps that you want up to the gold package which is unlimited. Any unused swaps are carried over till the next week.
You receive your next lot of books. We found that the books came back very quickly. Generally, we found that if they were sent on day 1, the new ones would be back on day 3.
H gets excited by his Reading Chest deliveries. The packets of books are addressed to him so it’s ‘his post’. There’s a good selection of high quality reading schemes available and it’s introduced us to reading schemes we hadn’t come across before like Project X which is very good for those that like learning facts.
Reading Chest’s price list works as follows:
- Bronze – 4 books initially and up to 2 swaps – £9.95 a month. Can make one booklist so suitable for a single child. So up to 6 books a month.
- Silver – 4 books initially and up to 4 swaps – £12.95. Can have up to 2 booklists so could be used for two children. Up to 12 books a month.
- Gold – 6 books initially and unlimited swaps – £15.95. You can include up to 3 booklists. Unlimited number of books.
I think that if you need to supplement your children’s school reading books or are home educating, then Reading Chest is well worth considering. Buying reading books quickly gets expensive. It’s possible to get good value booksets for the first 6 book bands or so, but after that it seems difficult to find reasonably priced books, especially if your child needs lots of variety or is progressing rapidly through levels. For example a boxset of 6 Oxford Reading Tree stories for stages 7 and up costs over £30. I think against that background that £15.95 for 6 books and unlimited swaps with Reading Chest is quite a saving.
Readers of 92three30 can save more too by using the code 92THREE30. This will give £5 off the first month’s membership. There is no minimum membership, so you can try it out and cancel after the first month if you wish. To cancel you’ll need to click the cancellation button in your account area and return all the books.